Resources - 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time
A: Matthew 18:21-35 - Forgive each other - 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time
parable follows on from last week's formula for dealing with problems of wrong
doing in the community. The focus is completely on forgiveness, something that
comes more easily to some than to others. There are too many stories of people
who have walked away from their families and their friends because of a lack of
forgiveness. Many of us could reflect on the various relationships in our lives
and be aware of difficulties that strain our friendships, but the question remains
- what do we do about it?
hear the parable of the king who decided to settle his accounts and the first
servant brought to him owes him an amount of money that we would associate with
the richest people in Australia. So the evangelist is trying to point out that
the amount is ridiculously large and the man would have no hope of repaying it
so that the focus is on the incredible generosity and compassion of the king in
forgiving the debt.
hear of that same servant's lack of compassion and greed when he insisted that
a fellow servant be put in gaol until he can repay the debt. There is a serious
lack of forgiveness here that then affects the other servants and this is what
sin does. Too frequently people kid themselves into thinking that their sin does
not affect anyone else however, the ripple of sin ends up affecting the whole
We too are servants
of God's Basileia or Kingdom, we too continue to experience the incredible generosity
of God's forgiveness and the abundance of grace to be open to our self-revealing
God. We frequently pray the Our Father, where we ask God to "forgive us our
trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us
" but sometimes
we focus on the first bit where we are forgiven instead of the whole concept of
forgiveness and apply that to all of our relationships.
is when we contemplate the enormity of the self-sacrifice of Jesus that we come
close to understanding how much God loves us and in a relationship of love there
must be forgiveness. If God is willing to forgive the exorbitant debt we owe God,
surely we can forgive the insignificant debts owed us. It might take a phone call,
a visit, a letter, an invitation or even a Christmas card to reconnect with those
we have found hard to forgive - our reward will be peace.
Year C: Luke 15:1-32
- The parables of the lost - 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time
is a reasonably long section of Scripture to hear and reflect on. So long, in
fact, that many will choose the shorter version which focuses on the lost son.
The passage includes three parables about the depth of God's mercy and how foolish
that might appear by human standards - as foolish as a shepherd who leaves his
flock to seek out the lost sheep - as foolish as a woman who calls together the
whole village to celebrate when she finds a lost coin - as foolish as a father
who despite the horror of what his son has said and done, rushes out from the
family home to welcome the returning lost son. It is fortunate that God is our
judge and will show mercy because humans are much harsher judges.
parables are told because the Pharisees and the scribes complained "this
man welcomes sinners and eats with them." The constant issue between Jesus
and the scribes and Pharisees remains - are some people outside the limits of
God's mercy? Jesus insists throughout the use of these parables that no one is
outside the limits of God's mercy.
key requirement to receiving God's mercy is conversion - conversion from self
to God, conversion from bad to good, conversion from selfishness to inclusion
of all. One of the fruits of this conversion is joy - joy when the sheep is found
- joy when the small coin is found - joy when the lost son returns -joy if and
when the lost brother comes in for the feast. This joy is celebrated by summoning
friends and neighbours for a communal celebration.
each of us who has been a "lost son" is immensely grateful for the mercy
we have been shown, a number of people have frequently pointed out that they think
the older brother was given a raw deal. It is important to place ourselves in
the role of the older brother or the faithful one.
there an element of resentment or close-mindedness in us when we see someone else
receive favour when we are "clearly" more deserving? Do we seek praise
and thanks for doing what a good and faithful daughter or son should do? Or, do
we recognise the blessings we have and celebrate those blessings with all we come
in contact with. Do those who meet us wonder and reflect on why we have such joy
in our lives? Joy, because we have returned to God and turned away from selfishness
Ministry Resources 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time
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